Love triangle. Yep - that's the premise for Cassia Reyes in Matched by Ally Condie. But, before you think "not another teen drama" give Matched a chance. I read the book in three days, could not put it down. A love triangle exists, because we all know that love is a fundamental emotion coursing through teenage veins (and ours, to be honest), but it's different for Cassia and for Xander and Ky - her double matches; there's more at stake than just a broken heart.
The Society, the world in which they live, has created perfection. Couples are genetically matched by genes, DNA, and the potential for perfect offspring (as a teacher in public education, I can say this does NOT sound like a bad system). This happens on or shortly thereafter their seventeenth birthday. In short, The Society plays Cupid. And while some parties are destined to be singles for the rest of their life, those that are the best are matched with the best. Your match most likely will come from another province outside the one you live in, but for Cassia, that's where the surprise begins.
***Side note: Now, if you're a word nerd like I am, the idea that the outlying areas are called provinces immediately sparked your musings of war. Province comes from the Latin word Provincia, meaning territory under domination (pro -before, vincere - to conquer). So, as I started reading more about Cassia's love matches, it didn't surprise me that one of them came from a war-torn province with plenty of sultry mystery.
Her match night goes as planned, with one little twist. Her perfect match is right in the room with her; her best friend Xander. While this is rare, most people meet their match on a screen before them, neither are upset by the match, in fact, Xander was hopeful all along. But, the mystery begins when Cassisa gets home to read her micro-card about Xander. This is a chip containing all information about your future betrothed. Cassia doesn't really see the point in reading hers because she's known Xander her entire life, but curiosity gets the better of her and she pops her card into the reader. Xander's face is there for only a moment and then it's somebody else - somebody she never thought would be a match for her, Ky Markham.
The Society doesn't make mistakes. This could not possibly be happening. Why hasn't she ever looked at Ky this way before? What are the odds that he's now a part of everything that she does? Is The Society playing tricks with her? Or is this who she's really supposed to love? Does she have a choice in a world where everything is chosen for her: who to be, who to love, where to work, and when to die? Choice...choice...choice - Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage, against the dying of the light...
Matched is a well-written novel at 400 pages, and I found it to be an easy read with excellent flow to the story. Condie's descriptive language is right on cue; not too much that you are drowning in it, and just enough to give you an adequate picture of the life inside The Society. Lucky for readers, Matched is part of a trilogy, and the second book Crossed is in bookstores now.
Ally Condie (www.allycondie.com) is a former high school English teacher who lives with her husband and three sons outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, running, eating, and listening to her husband play guitar. SERIOUSLY - CAN SHE SOUND ANYMORE LIKE ME??? (except I like watching my husband work on his car and listening to him play the drums)
For more information about Matched and the author, visit the book's website. In the YA world, I would give this book a definite "two thumbs up" - it's enough science fiction/fantasy to keep a reader turning the page, with just enough reality to make one wonder, "What would I do???"